Being Black and southern, educated engineer

Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]

You black? Passe blanc. No, Creole.

August A. Goins Jr., Atlanta, GA. Growing up as a light skin black man of creole decent, people assume I want to be white. Not because of something I said or did, but based solely on my skin color. As if I had a choice of my skin color. I’m proud of who I am, […]

Pride comes before the downfall, duh…

Courtney, Wyoming, MI. All this pride to be black, white, brown, American, whatever, just let it go. You didn’t put any work to be the color you are, or the country you were born, it just happened. You can love who you are or where you are from, outside of being prideful. I’m not certain […]

We’re black We love the outdoors

James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. On June 24,2013 Adina Scott made a satellite phone dispatch from 17,200 feet on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. As part of the climbing team Expedition Denali, she and the 18 others had already spent a total of 16 days on the mountain and nearly a week camped at […]

Asians challenge the Black-White racial binary.

Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]

I saw them in the back

Dennis Jack Higgs Saint Peters, MO I was raised in West Texas in the 50’s and 60’s. Although racism was rampant around us, we were not raised to be racist. I am now in my mid sixties and still to this day, one incident, when I was about six or seven years old, that lasted […]

Black grandma, White grandpa. That’s weird!

Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]

Done Being the Token Black Girl

Ebony, Farmington Hills, MI. I grew up in a place where Black people felt they made it. A suburban community where the majority of residents were Black, employed, and thriving. It was wonderful growing up in this setting but it created unrealistic expectations for what the “real world” was and what life is like for […]

Not black enough to be black

Christina Gibbs, La Habra, CA. Growing up in Orange County all of my life, I grew up around mostly White, Asian, and Mexican people. I was always the token black person in schools throughout life and in my friend groups. The only only times I was around more than a few black people was when […]

Wow, you are the melting pot.

Natalie Mariam Pattillo Alpine, TX It always seems that my ethnic background becomes a guessing game at dinner parties. Even strangers will come up to me and ask me “what are you..wait, let me guess…egyptian, hispanic, black.,? Usually, I want to say “I’m a human” but I allow the guessing game to continue until they’ve […]

I’m black. so I am dangerous?

Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the […]

Black clients funded our white flight.

Jane Meacham, Washington, DC. My dad is a lawyer in Kansas City, MO, who always had mostly black, working-class clients. When the city school district started to decline in quality in the early 1970s, we moved away to a nearly all-white suburban school district nearby. So I realize now, all these years later, that his […]

I am both black and white

Alexander Belisle, Bronx, NY. My mother is Latvian and my father is from Belize but all my life I passed as white. I always listened to the prejudicial biases expressed by others who were unaware of my ancestry.

I am glad they fear me.

Ernest Leon Tyree Jr Dravosburg, PA After spending 12 years in the military I learned a lot about fear and the power it holds. One the most powerful motivators is fear which is unfortunate, that being said the person who holds the power has a great responsibility to know that people fear them and to […]

Who is your daughter’s father?

Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]

Ask him yourself if he’s black

Anne Gruel, Canada. My partner is from Jamaica and identifies as mixed race. His parents are black, but he has very light skin and has many white ancestors. I hate it when people ask: “Is your boyfriend black?” Yes, he is black. No problem with that. What they are really asking me is why am […]

Lie. Pretend to be “less Black”

Anonymous, USA. Someone, maybe many people, in my family took on the persona of mixed race Black/Native Americans so they could be, what? Less Black? I don’t know if it was my father’s generation, or his father’s, or even farther back. I grew up thinking I was Indian and consequently less connected to my Black […]

Let Me Guess, They Were Black?

Taylor Jackson, Tuscaloosa, AL. The race card might come off as confusing since I am a white man and my race card has a different race in it, but I hear that phrase all the time these days and that is really sad that this generation has come to this when bad things happen around […]

I am Mexican, Black, and American

My 6 word memoir is about my family because I am Mexican, but my cousins are black and Mexican. Most of my family is Mexican because my mom’s side is all Mexican and so is my dad’s side. But on my mom’s side I have black cousins. Some experiences I’ve had with racism is when […]

“But you’re not ‘really’ black, right?”

Danielle Petterson, Tampa, FL. I have light brown skin and I consider myself to be mixed. Most people have a simple-minded belief that “mixed” means that one parent is black while the other is white. To me, it runs so much deeper than that. I have 4 grandparents from 4 different countries: Puerto Rico, Curaçao, […]

Good hair is well maintained hair.

Jessica Elaine Burks, San Diego, CA. I am Black, Irish, and Native American. My paternal grandmother had straight long hair. My maternal grandmother had 4c textured hair. All my life I believed the myth that “good hair and long hair” do not belong to black women with 4C textured hair. My friends and even family […]

Dad fired the housekeeper, my fault.

Sandy Balazic, Tempe, AZ The year was 1960 and I was 4 years old. My parents had a housekeeper/babysitter to help while they both worked. One day my father noticed that she would sneak me off behind the basement door on the landing where she kept her personal belongings. When he asked me about this, […]

It’s okay to be black, Promise

Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]

I decide if I’m “black enough”.

Kelly Wickham, Springfield, IL. When I was born the white nurse told my mom that “mixed” wasn’t a category and she put “white” on my birth certificate, but my mother knew she’d be raising a child that the world would identify as black and she raised me as such.

We assumed their father was black!

Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.

I unpack my white privilege daily.

Sarah Walton Nashville, TN I descend directly from southern slave-owners and, more recently, racists. My family’s wealth is built on the backs of over a thousand slaves. It is my karmic duty to be a social-justice & race-relations activist; to call for reparations; to march; to force as many friends & family to look through […]

Successful, Black, Gay, a family’s shame…

Karim Ali, Columbus, OH. I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]

Slavery by All, Ended by Whites

Michael, San Rafael, CA. While all races practiced slavery, Whites were the ones to end it. All Christian White countries ended slavery approximately 150 years ago but sadly it is still practiced by Blacks, Asians, Asian-Indians and Muslim Whites today.

I know rap, not black people

Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]

I stare longingly at others like me

Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]

Biracial by birth, Black by choice

Kimberly, Detroit, MI. I was just listening to Talk of the Nation with Celeste Headlee discussing Navigating The Lines Between Ethnicity And Identity and I could relate to notion of being biracial and adopted into a white family and having to explore my identity through education and exposure to other black people. I’ve learned that […]

Human beings are not simply monochromatic

Sarah Martin, Wichita, KS. Perhaps this is my artistic side coming out, but when you paint a human being, they are not painted simply using white or black. No, they are painted with a wide variety of colors that blend together to make a beautiful picture. Too often people separate persons into categories that divide […]

4 –BLACK CHILD SHARES TOY WOW

ROBERT EDWARD NOEL Fairfield, CA AGE 4 DARK BALTIMORE EVENING AS MY MOTHER AND I WERE STARTING TO GET INTO OUR CARE A BLACK CHILD MY AGE WALKING BY WITH HIS FATHER APPROACHED ME, AND REACHED OUT HIS TOY FOR A FEW MINUTES SHARING IT WITH ME AND THEN WE PARTED. 68 YEARS LATER THAT […]

You realize I’m Black…right!?

Robert Dokes Beverly, MA Maybe it’s the way I present myself, but sometimes people forget that I’m Black. It’s not they are colorblind it’s just they’ve got so comfortable with me being around that people feel they can say anything around me and believe it’s okay

Born a crime ; Black and alive.

Bankole, West Chester, PA. Why? Why do you hate me? Why is my existence considered a pestilence in your eyes? Why do you kill me? Why do you murder my sons and tarnish my reputation? Why do you rape my wives and daughters? Why do you take from me and call it emancipation? “You hate […]

I changed countries, now I’m black

Kehinde Yemen I sat down at a store today in the middle of Mumbai and a cute little girl about two years old was walking by with her grandma. She took one look at me and refused to come any further. I smiled at her encouraging her to take the few extra steps but she […]

No one knows unless I tell

Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]

Black. Good hair? Indian in your family?

Nicole, New Orleans, LA. Black women are so obsessed with their hair that it can totally consume their life… “I can’t get in the pool ‘cuz I can’t get my hair wet”. “Girl, I can’t work out and sweat and mess up my hair”. “I can’t buy that. I gotta pay to get my hair […]

Race DOES NOT mean black or white

True Native, Vacaville, CA. It is sad to say that racial discourse in America has degraded into a petty fight for blacks first, all others, well who cares about all others. The level of fatigue with black-centric race politics is extremely high. No other race is given such accord in the theater, the movies, sports. […]

Half Japanese Half Irish Hapa? Whateva

Lois Ann Knezek, Sanger, TX. I was born and raised in Hawai’i to a Hawai’i born Japanese woman and an Irish Bostonian. Luckily, in Hawai’i, everyone is mixed so I didn’t feel any different. Then I married a haole from Texas and moved to a culture where people didn’t know what I was. I wasn’t […]

Three Strikes- Black, Deaf, and Female

La Toya Plummer, Greenbelt, MD. Although I have lived with three strikes for more than twenty years, the color of my skin always has been and always will be fundamental to who I am. When you are colorblind, you do not see me. Overlooking a portion of me that is susceptible to the brutal ignorance […]

I don’t see color

Patty Hall, Alexandria, VA. I have a precious bi-racial blessing; My Grandson. He doesn’t see color either, but sadly he knows other people do. There’s a song that many of us sang in Church growing up. “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and Yellow, Black and White they are […]

55 mph means you black man.

Gregory McGriff, Rutherfordton, NC. I am an Ivy-league graduate and a board-certified medical doctor.  The subject of race comes up all the time but the conversation that should follow is usually very short.  When I see the speed sign on the road announcing 55 mph (or whatever the legal limit is).  I know that posting […]

We all have the same opportunities!

Amanda Caraballo, Cleveland, OH. I’m so sick of “African American’s” always using the excuse “The white folk are privileged, and we can’t have this or do the because IM BLACK”…. WRONG! Slavery has been over for at least 149 year’s. I do not own a slave nor do I know one who has. A matter […]

I am black and a target

Chris Porter, Seattle, WA. It is hard for me to think about living in a country where my life seems to have little value. It is hard to think about living in a country that is the envy of so many around the world and yet I am not part of that envy. It is […]

Mom said I never saw color.

Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.

Love Classical music and I’m black

Yolanda, Lithonia, GA. It’s very tiring an disappointing to hear many in my community say to me “You like white people stuff”. I would like to know exactly what’s classified as “White people stuff”. Since when did enjoying a good Opera or visiting the local symphony considered something only expected or FOR one race of […]

My dad was born in Kenya (and he is not black)

Jess, Valencia, CA. My dad was born in Kenya. People then assume he is black, and I do not blame them. However, before I can get a word out and correct them, that he is white, they assume I am part black and look for those black features. I have had people say, “oh I […]

This big chip hurts my back.

BURTON DAVIS PRICE Greenwood, MS Becoming a black professional gives one a large chip on their shoulder. This chip can be so heavy at times that it makes your life miserable. You always question other peoples actions towards you, which can make you paranoid.

She’s White in a Black body….

Cooper Shell, Jackson, TN. She’s White in a Black Body….. That is what has ALWAYS been said to describe me—since I was at least 12 years old. My name is Cooper Shell, and I grew up in Choctaw County, MS. I hail from a blended family which is very typical in my town. I suppose […]

Your husband’s black? But you’re Asian.

Nina Ball, Baltimore, MD. When people first meet my husband and/or see a picture of us together, the surprise is obvious. I’ve had a few people outright tell me that they just assumed he was Korean. More often than not, I get the question, “What do your parents think?” When they find out that, like […]

You’re Not Black, You’re Too White

KayKay Mara, Lancaster, CA. I have spent my whole life being judged by my skin color. It was never a big deal to me since I was always warned that life was going to be this way no matter how hard I tried to fix it. People don’t see that sometimes the little things they […]

I’m white. So you hate me.

Annie, Glen Burnie, MD. I keep seeing people saying fuck white people. I am anything but privileged. I had a black manager who hated me. She did everything she could to try to keep me from succeeding two years ago. She threatened me on my birthday. Then, next birthday, she had everybody get together and […]

My black boyfriend’s not an athlete

Elizabeth S, USA. Is he on the basketball team? Does he play football? I’m white and in an interracial relationship. Whenever someone new sees a picture of us together that’s usually the first thing they ask. No, I’m sorry just because he is tall and black doesn’t mean he can dunk or played sports in […]

White Jewish girl in a bubble

Emily Einhorn, Beachwood, OH. Whenever there is talk about racism, a part of me feels guilty. I have lived in a small suburb my entire life. In this town, people joke you’re either black, Jewish, or Asian. I have never witnessed a racist act and I feel as if I’ve missed out on being a […]

My Black is Best on Me

Shani Ketema, Newark, NJ. Mini Buns. Boxer Braids. Tans. Injections. Street style. TRANSLATION Bantu Knots, Cornrows, Black skin, thickness and what I’ve been wearing for years cause designer is expensive. I’m beyond tired of hearing that my black looks better on the bodies of white America. It’s not fair that someone can buy my skintone […]

“Darker than White, Lighter than Black.”

I grew up afraid of race. I was scared to even say “My mom is Black, My dad is white.” (It took a lot of motivation). And once I did, I knew what race was and how harmful it can be. A couple years later at a family reunion, me and one of my cousins […]

“White” is not a skin tone

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer It has always confused me when people call others “white”, or “black”, because no one’s skin is “black”, or “white”. Besides, no one names their kids the color of their skin, so why do we call them that? In the past I have made myself […]

Black Is Just An Insecure Label

R.E.A.L. Talk, High Tech Middle Media Arts, 7th Grade Trailblazer To me race is just a made up way to put people in groups, based on the way they look. When did that start to matter? Stereotypes, Racism, Segregation, Slaves, and Wars. Stereotypes are a big part of race and racism. The following are the […]

Finally, a multi-racial option on applications.

James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick […]

I look white & I’m not racist.

Lynn, Great Falls, SC. I tend to look white; especially when not in the sun. I’m actually a mix of: European (German, Irish, & British), Native American (Seminole, Cherokee, & Muskogee Creek), Black (African -sub-sahara regions- and Melanesian), and Middle Eastern (Syrian, Turkish, Indian (India) & Iranian)…….Somehow I ended up looking more European instead……I hate […]

I’m black; I didn’t experience that.

Terri Davis, Cleveland, OH. I don’t discount the experiences of other black people, I just haven’t had the same encounters. Why do people think that I should have? I suppose I avoid confrontations by not doing things to draw attention to myself. I don’t pay attention to others who may be watching me and waiting […]

It just isn’t done. Why Not?

Catherine, Beach City, OH. I have always been told by my father that ” I better not catch you with some black kid!” or by my grandmother “that just was never done in our church” or “I don’t know why. we just didn’t have that”. I could never grasp why my family was so discriminating […]

Black Little Mermaid steals the show.

Sarah Mutombo, Louisville, KY. I attend Louisville Collegiate school, and in my 8th grade year I participated in middle school Musical: The Little Mermaid, Jr. I was a minority at this high-end private school. Going into auditions, I wasn’t expecting to get a good role, not because I was black, but because I didn’t have […]

Too ambiguous to fit in anywhere.

Tasha L., Largo, MD. I am adopted, raised by a half French/half Black mother and full-blooded Sicilian father. I am half Black, quarter Indian (India) and quarter white in my biological heritage. I am told I look Latina or white, “definitely not Black,” and have always noticed I seem to confuse people when they try […]

Noir, Schwartze, Negredo – I Am Black

Courtney Jones, Denver, CO. People hide behind the stereotypes, racism, politics, and labels to avoid CONNECTING with others. Are we afraid people have more in common with us than we allow our differences to believe? My pride in my race contributes to my Life & community. It takes nothing from you & we all gain […]